Q: Please tell us about who yourself and the organization you represent:
My name is Dana Hilton Van Ee and I am the President of The Liberian Cancer Society, Inc. Professionally, I am an Early Childhood Educator, with specialization in Children in Health Care Settings and Psychology. I am currently self – employed and determined to work towards the betterment of Liberia in multiple capacities.
Having lost both of my parents to cancer, I am committed to making a difference in defeating this disease wherever possible.
WHO WE ARE
The Liberian Cancer Society, founded in 1977, is Liberia’s 1st Cancer Specific organization committed to creating awareness and educating the public about prevention, diagnosis & treatment of all forms of cancer. We are all volunteers.
The multi-colored loop ribbon & barcode symbolize the many forms of cancer affecting all the people we are committed to helping. The bright, vibrant colors indicate that we have hope!
- To promote public awareness on all forms of cancer
- To act as a focal point for local & international networking in their quest for information and funding of cancer related activities in Liberia
- To disseminate information regarding all new information in cancer research including lifestyle, nutrition and other areas that can lead to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer
- To educate the public about the disease thereby removing the associated stigmas and encouraging conversation
- To support those who serve the victims of cancer (including the family care giver) in the provision of care, comfort and counseling
The civil crisis in Liberia in 1980 disrupted the activities of this energetic organization up to 2012 when it was reactivated. Recommitted and determined, with a dynamic membership, we forge ahead.
Cognizant of all of the types of cancer, we recognize that five types of cancer, at present, are dominant locally: Breast & Cervical (for women), Prostate & Liver (for men) and in children, Lymphoma.
As we cater to various segments of society, we currently raise funds through two annual fundraisers:
- The Bike Ride & Walk
- An Evening of Musical Magnificence
- Sponsors / Donors
- The Annual Bike Ride & Walk Against Cancer is held every February in recognition and support of International Cancer Awareness Month. This family event promotes healthy lifestyle choices and is open to short and long distance riders. It is held in partnership with The Monrovia Cycling Club & The Federation of Liberian Bikers. Bikers from all over the world, in country, participate.
- The Evening of Musical Magnificence highlights and introduces local musicians to the public who are not just gifted, but spectacular. We also honor individuals who have been pro active in cancer activities in Liberia.
- Aside from these events, we speak on television and radio talk shows about cancer and publish articles relating to cancer in our local newspapers. Regularly updated as social media is essential, our Facebook page is active, insightful and informative. We are in the process of upgrading our Website.
- Collaborating with doctors & other health care professionals – local & international, we offer free screenings throughout the year at local market places and other venues, in order to meet the needs of our populace. Self exams are taught and we also teach about healthy lifestyle choices at these venues.
Recognized by Liberia’s Ministry of Health as the lead civil society organization and advocacy, for cancer treatment and prevention of all of the cancer specific organizations in Liberia, we promote:
- Public Awareness of All Types of Cancer
- Serve as Advocates & Liaisons
- Support Healthy Lifestyle Choices
- Provide Screenings (Free) for Cervical Cancer and Breast Cancer (for men & women)
- Support Teaching of Self Exams
- HPV Vaccine Awareness
- Local and International Cancer Organizations
We also work closely with the Ministry of Health on various committees:
- The National Cancer Coordinating Group
- The Palliative Care Group
- The Non Communicable Diseases on Policy
- The Liberia National Cancer Registry
Q: What is one of your success stories?
We recently conducted a (free) breast screening & awareness event for the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). It was the first time that such an opportunity had been made available for both the LCS and the AFL. We screened in excess of 200 persons that day. We also spoke about healthy life style choices. What was wonderful was that both males and females of the AFL actively engaged us with questions that we responded to. Also added to the joy & success of the day was a visit by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia who was able to stop by to observe & engage and avail all other barracks in Liberia to us for breast, cervical and other screenings, based on our services to.
We also raised the funds at our last Bike Ride & Walk, to purchase the mobile equipment required to check for cervical cancer, in the “See & Treat” partnership we have. Cervical cancer is the only cancer that is a virus and is transmitted sexually from the male to female and can later be returned to the male from the female.
Q: If you had an $X,XXX of budget, how would you spend it and why?
I would engage international donors for equipment needed diagnose and treat, inclusive of training opportunities for oncology professionals, laboratory technicians and establishing or acquiring scholarships for students interested in cancer, at our Medical College in Liberia.
I would also invest in more “natural” methods that are not toxic to the system, and add microbiologists as well as nutritionists to this list of meeting the needs of individuals and their families where they are, with a more wholesome approach, recognizing the needs of the health care systems in Liberia. Continued reading, research & engagement with all sectors of the community further encourage me to extend in this direction.
Our expansion goals include, but are not limited to additional activities such as extended reach to schools, hospitals, the general public & challenged communities amongst other cancer related services, and continuing ongoing partnerships with local and international organizations..
LET’S CANCEL CANCER!